The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH) had been devoting most of his time in meditation in the seclusion of cave Hira. One day, when he was absorbed in it, he had his first revelation. Angel Gibrael revealed to him the first commandment of God, contained in Sura Al-lqra of the Holy Quran. Muhammad (PBUH) was highly excited with his new experience and came home trembling with fear. He lay down on his bed with an attack of fever.
His wife, Khadija, was much concerned with his unusual condition. She attended to him and inquired the reason of his excitement. Muhammad (PBUH) narrated the whole story relating to the strange experience of his rust revelation.
Elated, Khadija congratulated him on being elevated to the highest position of Prophethood saying, “Be consoled, God will never forsake you”. She was the first to embrace the new religion, Islam.
Khadija, daughter of Khuwailid of Quraish family of Abd-al-Uzza, had the distinction of being the first wife of Muhammad (PBUH).
She was a rich widow endowed with exceptionally good qualities of head and heart. In the pre-Islamic days, due to her virtuous life, she was known by the name of Tahira. According to Tabaqaat ibn Saad, she was the richest woman of Makkah.
Muhammad (PBUH) who had been doing business independently, was known throughout the Hejaz for his honesty, integrity and morality. In recognition of his good qualities, the people began to call him “Ameen” (Trustworthy). Khadija, too, was attracted by the brilliant qualities of young Muhammad (PBUH) and took him in service. He was sent to Busra with her merchandise. On return, after three months, she proposed the marriage. Muhammad (PBuH) was 25 and Khadija was 40 years old at that time.
Arab women in those days exercised free volition in respect of matters pertaining to their marriage, therefore Khadija held a direct talk with Muhammad (PBUH) on the matter. On the appointed day, Muhammad’s (PBUH) relatives, who included his uncle Abu Talib and Hamza assembled at the house of Khadija. Abu Talib delivered the nuptial address.
The Prophet did not marry any other woman during her lifetime. She lived for 25 years after her marriage with Muhammad (PBUH) and died three years before the Hejirat.
Khadija bore him six children-two sons, Qasim and Abdullah, who died in infancy and four daughters, namely Fatima Zahra, Zainab, Ruqayya and Umme Kulsoom. It was with reference to Qasim that the Prophet was sometimes addressed as Abul Qasim (Father of Qasim).
Khadija’s daughter Zainab was married to her cousin. Her daughters, Ruqayya and Umme Kulsoom were married to the Third Caliph Usman one after the death of the other. Khadija’s daughter Fatima Zahra who was the dearest daughter of the Prophet was married to Hazrat Ali. The lineage of the Prophet progressed through her sons Hasan and Husain. The Prophet had all his issues by Khadija except Ibrahim who also died young.
The house in which Khadija lived was purchased by Ameer Muawiya and converted into a mosque which still bears the name of the great lady.
The Prophet cherished greatest regard and love for Khadija. Even after her death, he remembered her frequently with love and gratitude. “When all other persons opposed me”, he said, “she supported me, when all were infidels, she embraced Islam. When none was my helper, she helped me.”
Her great wealth and high status proved very useful for the propagation of Islam. The majority of Muslim religious leaders acclaim Khadija, Fatima and Aisha as the three greatest women in Islam. They class Fatima as the first, Khadija as the second and Aisha as the third highest and greatest woman in Islam.
According to Hafiz ibn Qayyim, a disciple of Imam ibn Taimiya, if one considers the relationship with the Prophet, Fatima stands on the top, if one takes into account the priority in accepting Islam and the moral as well as the material support given to the new religion, Khadija to the first position, but in matters of learning and service rendered occupies the propagation of the Prophet’s teachings, none stands in comparison to Aisha.
A number of traditions of the Prophet of Islam are in praise of Khadija. According to Sahih Muslim, there are two women occupying the highest position in the eyes of God: Mariam (Mary)and Khadija.